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Kindred Spirits

By ANDY TURNER

August 2014

Indie folk group Blessed Feathers is making award-winning music, but you won’t find the duo planting roots anytime soon. The newlywed couple are on the road again, leaving Wisconsin and heading west.

Donivan Berube, 22, and Jacquelyn Beaupre, 25, met in a pizza parlor in West Bend, fell in love and formed a locally and nationally celebrated band. The group’s second album, "Order of the Arrow," was released in November, generating much buzz for the duo and earning it a WAMI award for Best Folk/Celtic Artist.

During a recent stint house-sitting in Cudahy, the couple planned a bicycle trip across the country to Big Sur, Calif., where they plan to work temporarily at the Henry Miller Memorial Library and live in a tent behind it, before relocating in November to Flagstaff, Ariz.

Indeed, "nomadic" has frequently been used to describe the duo. National Public Radio ran a segment on "Morning Edition" last December called "Blessed Feathers: Nomadic and Loving It." Milwaukee native Beaupre says it’s inspiring to move around and live with different people. "You kind of step into people’s lives for a little bit and learn what they know," she says. "I think everyone should do it for a little while because it’s so human to connect with other people and see what they’ve learned and help each other out."

Berube taught himself to record music as a high school student in Florida, then hit the road after graduation and landed in West Bend. The couple married in May. "I fell in love with her before we started making music," he says.

Despite their closeness, the two never write songs together, Berube says. "We kind of present the songs to each other and open them to collaboration in the recording process," he says.

While recording "Order of the Arrow," Berube says he had been listening to a lot of African and South American music from the ’60s and ’70s, as well as the blues. "On ‘Order of the Arrow,’ it’s all those polyrhythms that I was getting into," he says. "The drumming kind of defines that album for me, but then the lyrics are the same old folk band, Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska lyrics. They’re still songwriter songs, but they have these strange, worldly elements to them."

Beaupre says she and Berube share the same musical tastes and many of the same passions in life. "Our humor works really well together, and we’re both kind of happy to live very simply," she says, "and that’s not really a common thing to find."


This story ran in the August 2014 issue of: